The Bullied Grandma Incident: Parenting a Bully
Parents across the country are outraged over an incident that took place in Rochester, NY this week, where an elderly bus monitor was berated by a group of middle school students. The bullying, as seen in a 10 minute viral video, shows the grandmother attempting to ignore repeated nasty verbal attacks including the kids calling her fat and even suggesting that her children commit suicide.
This incident has pushed the issue of bullying into the spotlight once again, with many parents asking how young children can be so mean and cruel.
Certainly, no parent wants their child to be a bully. Many experts suggest that parents take this latest incident and use it as a teaching tool with their own children. It certainly provides an opportunity for mom and dad to start the conversation.
Is your child a bully?
Many experts have weighed in on how to approach the subject of bullying with children. We’ve gathered their advice and included it below. Here are six steps parents can take to keep their children on the right track:
- Look, Listen & Learn. Listen - no, really listen - to how your child talks about his or her classmates. Watch how your child treats others. Monitor e-communications and pay attention to their activity on Facebook and other popular websites. Do you like your child's friends? Does your child run with a tough crowd? Do other children keep their distance?
- Be A Good Example. Try not to let your child see you lose your temper. Remember, he or she is learning to be an adult by studying your behavior. Also, set a good example by not bullying or intimidating others, and by standing up to friends or family members who act like bullies
- Return to Respect. Good old-fashioned manners go a long way. Teach your child the difference between being aggressive and assertive. Make sure they know you expect them to show proper respect to adults and treat their classmates how they would want to be treated.
- Promote Diversity. Expose your child to as much diversity as possible and explain that the differences among us make the world a better place.
- Give Them Chances to Show Kindness. Reinforce compassionate behavior. Teach empathy and provide opportunities for children to care for others.
- If necessary, consult a professional. Sometimes a situation calls for more than parental intervention. If your child is showing excessive aggressive behavior, consider enrolling himor her in behavioral health counseling or anger management classes.
The discussion around this latest incident of bullying now turns to what, if any, punishment the boys will face. In this case, it’s in the hands of their parents as well as school officials and local authorities. Simultaneously, parents across the country can use this disturbing experience to begin a conversation with their own children, in efforts to raise a future generation of kind and generous adults.
Additional Resources on Parenting Bullies and Raising Compassionate Children:
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology
Your Child: Bully or Victim? by Peter Sheras
Tagged as: bullying, parenting a bully